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Political Strategy Notes

The Newt-Rove conflict is getting a little gnarly for the GOP. At HuffPo John Ward quotes Newt: "I am unalterably opposed to a bunch of billionaires financing a boss to pick candidates in 50 states," Gingrich writes, casting Rove as the "boss" picking candidates through groups like American Crossroads. "No one person is smart enough nor do they have the moral right to buy nominations across the country...Handing millions to Washington based consultants to destroy the candidates they dislike and nominate the candidates they do like is an invitation to cronyism, favoritism and corruption."

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum makes a couple of good points in his CNN Opinion post, "Obama needs a 'Plan B' on guns."

Christie Thompson's ProPublica round-up "Graphing the Great Gun Debate" provides great eye candy for data junkies.

Julian Selzer's "How to fight climate change," also at CNN Opinion, has some good suggestions for progressives, including this from Theda Skocpol: "To counter fierce political opposition, reformers will have to build organizational networks across the country, and they will need to orchestrate sustained political efforts that stretch far beyond friendly congressional offices, comfy board rooms and posh retreats ... insider politics cannot carry the day on its own, apart from a broader movement pressing politicians for change."

Mike Dorning reports at Bloomberg Businessweek: "Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of Obama's performance in office, his strongest level of support since September 2009, according to a Bloomberg National poll conducted Feb. 15-18. Only 35 percent of the country has a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest rating in a survey that began in September 2009. The party's brand slipped six percentage points in the last six months, the poll shows...Americans by 49 percent to 44 percent believe Obama's proposals for government spending on infrastructure, education and alternative energy are more likely to create jobs than Republican calls to cut spending and taxes to build business confidence and spur employment."

More bad news for GOP hopes for making inroads into the Latino vote: "In a new USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll, the president's approval rating among Hispanics has rebounded to 73%.," reports Susan Page at USA Today.

Do read Jonathan Chait's post, "John Boehner Traps Himself on the Sequester" at New York Magazine, which makes a persuasive case that Boehner has become Obama's not-so-secret weapon in the budget battle. "He's given himself no way out save the total victory of forcing Obama to swallow entitlement cuts without revenue, a goal he almost certainly can't attain. He's the unpopular leader of an unpopular party advocating unpopular ideas against a reasonably well-regarded president, so a public fight will decrease rather than increase his leverage.

At The Daily Beast John Avlon explains why Dems should be able to make John Boehner eat his sequester albatross.

Are web-based polls now more credible? Molly Ball's post on the topic, "A More Perfect Poll" at The Atlantic observes, "...a funny thing happened last fall, even as polling paranoia was raging: the polls got smarter, thanks in part to Internet-based polling, a method that had previously been seen as the industry's redheaded stepchild. After the election, when Silver ranked 23 pollsters by how closely they approximated the presidential-election result, firms that had conducted their polls online took four of the top seven spots; in a separate ranking by a Fordham University professor, they took three of the top seven. Meanwhile, traditional, telephone-based survey groups like Gallup and the Associated Press scored near the bottom of both lists. That's right: in 2012, polls that relied on people clicking on the equivalent of those "Your Opinion Counts!" pop-up ads proved a more effective gauge of the American electorate than the venerable Gallup Poll."

Jason Easeley's "Rachel Maddow Annihilates the Paranoid Delusions of Rand Paul " at PoliticusUSA includes this observation: "The underlying problem that Maddow was getting at is that there is no buffer between the whack job conservative media, and Republicans who serve in powerful positions in our government. Some may argue that bigger issue is that someone like Rand Paul got elected to United States Senate, but in the history of Congress there have always been a few flakes, weirdos, oddballs, and lightweights holding office. There have always been ideologues and fringers like Rand Paul floating around in our political atmosphere. The difference between then and now is that the Rand Paul's of today have a whole facts optional, but ideology required, media complex feeding their delusions."